Let’s be honest: If the Giants claimed Marcos Cooper on waivers, I’m not sure if this post gets written. But they claimed Engelb Vielma, and I’m a huge sucker for names that read like the Jumble on page D9, so let’s dive right the heck in.
The Giants claimed Engelb Vielma off waivers from the Twins, and here’s what we know:
- primarily a shortstop
- career .256/.316/.302 line
- 2 career home runs in 2,171 minor-league plate appearances
Those facts tell you something. They tell you that he must be able to run a little (he can) and that he can field a little (he can) because those are the only ways someone with that kind of power can stay on a 40-man roster as long as he did.
Vielma ranked in the back half of the Twins’ top-30 prospect list on Baseball America from 2014 to 2016, peaking with a no. 18 mark in 2015. Here’s what they wrote about him:
Voted the 19th-best prospect in the Florida State League, Vielma has soft hands, smooth actions and outstanding footwork to go with a plus arm and jaw-dropping range. After averaging fewer than 20 errors the past two seasons in Class A, he figures to make the move to Double-A Chattanooga next season
His 2017 line in Triple-A was unpleasant, with a .493 OPS (!) in 296 at-bats, but he did much better in Double-A, with a .362 OBP and more walks than strikeouts in 119 at-bats.
Still, every report I can find raves about his defense, from the hands to the arm, so you can see why the Giants are experimenting. The Giants didn’t a whole lot out of Juniel Querecuto in Sacramento, and you have to go down to rookie ball to get an OPS higher than .800. A switch-hitting plus defender with a little youth on his side isn’t a bad thing. For a best-case scenario, I’m thinking Kelby Tomlinson with a much better glove. That’s not a bad player at all.
For a realistic scenario? We’ll never hear from Vielma again, other than the stray appearance in Minor Lines. But the Giants are active on the waiver wire, and it’s my duty to report as much. Especially when the player’s name is Engelb. And especially when you realize that Ehire Adrianza is hitting .273/.335/.388 for the Twins. Pretend that the Giants traded Ehire for Engelb, and you’ll have a good day.
Hopefully Vielma will hit just enough, Tomlinson-style, to allow us to see just how outstanding the glove is. You can say that about 100 infielders in the minors, but this one is on the GIants. Root 4 Engelb.